In Fallbrook, a storybook hamlet in northern San Diego county, the avocado is king. The annual Avocado Festival — honoring the area’s signature crop — was the impetus for a neighborhood piece I wrote that just published in the Los Angeles Times. Held this year on April 19, the festival promises mounds of guacamole and even ice cream crafted from the “alligator pear.”
Yet even though Fallbrook is billed as the world’s Avocado Capital, the town has so much more than just fruit to offer. When I rolled into town, my first stop was the Fallbrook Historical Society, and I happened to arrive there just as a board meeting was adjourning. I met some of the town’s elders, some of whom offered me an oral history of Fallbrook’s agricultural and railroad past. I got an impromptu tour of a turn-of-the-century farmhouse and a newly build barn that will house historic Model T Fords. In Fallbrook village, I browsed in gift and clothing boutiques and lunched at Cafe des Artistes, where an herb garden supplies the kitchen and the carrots in the carrot soup tasted freshly picked. Next, I stopped at Live Oak Park, where I wanted to linger all afternoon under the ancient oak trees. With all the crowds that converge on Fallbrook for the Avocado Festival, I’d say skip it. Fallbrook without all the avocado hype is more rewarding.